Opposition Leader, David Granger says that the issue of a no-confidence motion against the Ramotar government will be discussed at the next shadow cabinet meeting of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) to be held on Tuesday.
Granger told Stabroek News on Wednesday that there has been no discussion between APNU and the Alliance for Change, both of which would have to agree on a no-confidence motion for it to succeed. A no-confidence vote passed by the one-seat opposition majority would bring down the government as new elections would have to be held.
Granger said that APNU’s current focus was on the “unconstitutional” spending by the government of $4.5 billion of the $37.4 billion which had been cut by the joint opposition from the $220 billion 2014 budget.
He said that it was unacceptable that the government came after the fact to table a financial paper in parliament to cover the amount. Granger said it was “lawless” of the finance minister to spend unapproved money after the passing of the Appropriation Act months ago. The financial paper is not likely to receive support from either of the opposition parties.
Granger said that under the Constitution the minister’s spending of money from the Consolidated Fund after the passage of the Appropriation Act could not be done unless it was deemed necessary. Granger was adamant that Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh was unable to explain to the National Assembly how the spending was necessary.
On Monday, AFC Vice-Chairman Moses Nagamootoo told Stabroek News that the party is seriously contemplating a no-confidence motion against the Ramotar government after the “serious financial breach” in relation to the $4.5 billion spent.
Nagamootoo said that this was just the sort of behaviour that shows the government lacks accountability. He said that a no-confidence motion “would have to be supported by the entire opposition. It is not a unilateral decision for the AFC (Alliance for Change), but it is something that is now coming to the table…”
Nagamootoo, a former longstanding PPP member prior to joining the AFC in 2011, told Stabroek News that a no-confidence could be what was necessary to end the constant gridlock in Parliament.
Article 106(6) of the constitution states that “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence”. New elections would then have to be held in three months.
On Wednesday, a defiant President Donald Ramotar dared the opposition to move a no-confidence vote against his government.
“We do not take threats. If the opposition wants to pass a no-confidence bill, let them pass it and we will be ready to deal with the consequences of that,” Ramotar said while delivering remarks at the Private Sector Commission’s Annual General Meeting at the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown.
Nagamootoo said that the government’s behaviour lacks transparency and that the unauthorized spending only highlighted the way in which the minority government operated with an utter lack of regard for presenting information. He said that there has been an abandonment of the tripartite engagements among the parties “which is a pity and I also believe that was a deliberate move on the government’s part. It is in keeping with the style of the Ramotar regime”. He said that “we want engagement and that these discussions need to be between the leaders and be done through parliamentary engagement.”
Nagamootoo told Stabroek News that “incompetence” at the helm was rampant and that President Ramotar was unable to lead effectively.